Kwalikum Secondary School boys soccer coach Butch Gayton found himself with an unenviable task midway through Tueday’s league game with visiting Wellington Secondary.
Namely, trying to convince his team not to score so much.
The Kondors struck early and often before reluctantly easing off the throttle of a 7-0 senior boys AA victory over the Wildcats of Nanaimo.
Most of the damage occurred in the opening 25 minutes as Kwalikum (4-1 overall, 2-0 in league play) jumped to a 5-0 halftime lead.
“I told ‘em to work the ball,” Gayton said. “No more goals, except for corner kicks.”
The challenge is expected to be somewhat tougher today when the Kondors welcome Nanaimo District Secondary School to the Qualicum Beach Rec Fields for a 3 p.m. Mid-Island North Division game.
Not only have the Islanders posted a similar win over Wellington, but the sunny skies that graced Tuesday’s contest are forecast to give way to the first of a series of storms lasting through the weekend across Vancouver Island.
“We’ll definitely be seeing more harder games,” Grade 12 striker Kevin Sudyko said. “This is good because we’re still getting used to each other’s style and learning how the international guys’ games work in.”
The senior boys opened the regular season with an 8-1 romp over Ladysmith a week earlier.
Kwalikum Secondary’s Edoardo Lovera cuts in front of a Wellington opponent to win a race to the ball in the Kondors’ 7-0 senior boys soccer win Tuesday at the Qualicum Beach Rec Fields. — Image credit: J.R. Rardon/PQB NEWS
A weekend tournament in Campbell River proved something of a wake-up call, though, as the Kondors followed two wins with a 4-1 loss to host Carihi Secondary.
“That was kind of a warm-up, just to get teams used to tournament play,” said Gayton. “Our guys certainly learned. We sustained a lot of injuries, and their legs were just dead by the end of it.”
Gayton’s 18-man roster was down to 13 healthy bodies for Tuesday’s contest with Wellington. It didn’t make a difference this time, but that will change.
“One of the advantages we have is being a strong program,” said Gayton. “Right now we’re playing against teams that are not quite ready yet. But as we move on through league games to the North Islands (tournament), the Islands and, hopefully, provincials, it’s going to keep getting tougher.”
He welcomes the relatively easy start to the season as he tries to blend a group of returning players and newcomers from the local area, Asia and Europe.
In addition, the team is breaking in a new goalkeeper, Grade 12 Sheldon Munroe. He has never played the game before, even as a youth.
“I’m thinking a slow and steady start (to the season) is nice,” said Munroe, who made a nice, diving stop as part of a seven-save effort Tuesday. “I was kind of frantic starting out; today was the first time I really felt relaxed out there.”
If weather scrubs today’s game, it will be rescheduled, Gayton said. The team’s next home game will be Oct. 20 against Nanaimo Christian.